OK, back to phoenixes

I’ve been in a bit of a post-project slump the last few days – helped liberally along by a to-do list that’s totally out of control. However, I decided to chuck away the to-do list for an hour or two today to brainstorm the next project. I had planned to use the lacquered paper with the taquete peacock feather motif I designed a year or two ago, but the more I thought about it, the less interesting it seemed. I’m not done with my phoenixes yet! and until I get that out of my system, everything else seems to be on hold.

So I spent some time going through my inspirational photos and surfing the Internet for photos, thinking of the next phoenix piece. I finally decided that I still wanted to go with my original idea – a cloak over a dress – and that I wanted to start with the cloak. I clipped a bunch of images into my Evernote notebook, did a few mindmaps and sketched out a few designs, and finally decided that I wasn’t going to be able to sketch my idea – I’d have to do a quick muslin mockup.

So here it is:

cloak concept

cloak concept

I’m envisioning the background as a black fabric (perhaps with streaks of metallic in it), woven with a ~7500 ypp yarn, fiber TBD but probably wool, unmercerized cotton, or silk noil. The phoenix will be an applique of silk in fiery colors, draft TBD. The flames at bottom will also be appliqued, using the two fabrics I’ve already woven – the turned S&W phoenix fabric and the darker, mixed double weave/twill phoenix fabric. For the flames, though, I might use thicker yarns than I did in my sample, partly to make it weave up faster but mostly to make the phoenixes larger and more visible.

I’m sort of tempted to do the phoenix in brocade to produce one very large phoenix motif. The problem with that is that, because I only have a 24″ loom, I’m going to have to piece together the back – the phoenix probably wouldn’t come out wide enough, unfortunately! I also don’t enjoy hand-manipulated weaves, so on the whole an applique seems like a better idea. But we’ll see.

No idea yet what I want to do with the front of the cloak. I’m guessing the same black fabric, with two bands of phoenixes running down the front opening, and maybe some embroidered fire designs – but it’s way too early to worry about that. For now, I’m just going to let the idea percolate, and maybe start thinking about yarns for the base fabric. I have a beautiful wool/Lurex mix that might be perfect.

Back to the to-do list! Someday, someday I’ll get caught up.

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  1. Becky Nelson
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    This would mean designing 2 different parts-but, if you had the body woven in one piece, and each wing (flipped ‘over’ in the draft), you could have 3 LARGE pieces of 1 phoenix to apply to your back as applique. More sewing, but you could ‘play’ with more colors that way.

    • Tien Chiu
      Posted April 16, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      Hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for suggesting it! I’ll add it to my list of possibilities…

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